Joe Biden gave a wonderful speech last night. He was sharp, hopeful, eloquent, compassionate, determined, visionary.

If you missed it, watch it now. He was superb.

He laid out a vision of a renewed America, united to conquer the virus, rebuild our infrastructure, bring people together, and heal the deep wounds inflicted on us during the past four years.

After his speech, Republican consultant Rick Wilson—active in the Lincoln Project—said on Brian Williams’ MSNBC show that the choice in the election is stark. He said, “it’s a choice between a good man and a very bad man; between a decent man and an indecent man; between a moral man and a deeply immoral man.”

After listening to Biden lay out an inspiring call to rebuild and uplift our nation, I saw clips of Trump speaking spitefully in Scranton, Biden’s hometown. Trump was vicious, ridiculing Biden and accusing him of abandoning Scranton 70 years ago! Same old, same old: mean-spirited, nasty, divisive, sowing hatred and chaos. Again, he broke a norm of American politics in which each party goes silent while the other convenes. Not Trump. He was desperate to rain on Biden’s big night, but his me-me-me failed. It was Biden’s night.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post said that Biden spoke from a place unknown to Trump: the heart.

He wrote:

President Trump has tried every dirty trick in the book — and a few new ones — to cast doubts about the workings of Joe Biden’s brain. But Trump has been focusing on entirely the wrong organ. Biden’s appeal is from the heart.
The Democratic presidential nominee, in the most crucial speech of his long career in public service, had no problem clearing the low bar Trump had set. The evening began with a clip of Biden quoting Kierkegaard and ended with him quoting the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

But the power of Biden’s acceptance speech — and the power of his candidacy — was in its basic, honest simplicity. The rhetoric wasn’t soaring. The delivery was workmanlike (he botched an Ella Baker quote in his opening line). But it was warm and decent, a soothing, fireside chat for this pandemic era, as we battle twin crises of disease and economic collapse we only see each other disembodied in boxes on a screen. Biden spoke not to his political base but to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

“On this summer night,” Biden said, his voice growing rough, “let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most. I have some idea how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep black hole that opens in the middle of your chest, and you feel like you are being sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes. But I have learned two things. First, your loved one may have left this earth, but they will never leave your heart. . . . And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is defined purpose. As God’s children, each of us has a purpose in our lives.”

Biden’s speech, and indeed the whole closing night of the Democratic convention, was the polar opposite of the Trump’s “American carnage” vision. Biden’s rejoinder: American compassion. American competence. American community.

Words kept recurring: Dignity. Normalcy. Decency. Integrity. Stability. Sanity. Family. Big-hearted. Justice. Respect. Faith. Hope. Love. There was little about policy from Biden, and certainly no laundry list of proposals and promises. There was no attempt to throw red meat to the political left. This was about healing and recovery.

No choice here: Biden must beat this hateful, ignorant, illiterate, vicious man.